A first principles theory is developed to study the nonlinear spatial evolution of a near-resonance triad of instability waves in boundary layer transition. This triad consists of a plane wave at fundamental frequency and a pair of symmetrical, oblique waves at the subharmonic frequency. A low frequency, high Reynolds number asymptotic scaling leads to a distinct critical layer where nonlinearity first becomes important; the development of the triad's waves is determined by the critical layer's nonlinear, viscous dynamics. The resulting theory is fully nonlinear in that all nonlinearly generated oscillatory and nonoscillatory components are accounted for. The presence of the plane wave initially causes exponential of exponential growth of the oblique waves. However, the plane wave continues to follow the linear theory, even when the oblique waves' amplitude attains the same order of magnitude as that of the plane wave. A fully interactive stage then comes into effect when the oblique waves exceed a certain level compared to that of the plane wave. The oblique waves react back on the fundamental, slowing its growth rate. The oblique waves' saturation results from their self-interaction - a mechanism that does not require the presence of the plane wave. The oblique waves' saturation level is independent of their initial level, but decreases as the obliqueness angle increases.